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Assad's political, military foes set up hotline

The Syrian National Council and the Syrian Free Army announce a hotline to coordinate their political and military campaign against the Bashar Al-Assad regime

AFP , Monday 16 Jan 2012
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The political and military opposition to President Bashar Al-Assad announced on Monday they have set up a hotline to coordinate their action aimed at bringing down the regime.

The Syrian National Council, an umbrella group, said in a statement the decision was taken in talks on Saturday night with the Syrian Free Army (SFA), formed of deserters from the military.

A liaison office was set up and "a hotline to follow internal political developments on the ground," it said.

The statement said further meetings would be held involving military experts "to strengthen the capacity of the SFA against regime forces and to protect civilian regions which the regime wants to raid or pillage."

The talks on Saturday also focused on efforts to "restructure SFA units and create a modern and flexible structure ... to allow for rapid deployment" and cope with the daily inflow of deserting officers and soldiers.

The FSA claims to have gathered some 40,000 fighters under its command since an anti-regime broke out in Syria in mid-March. A government crackdown on dissent has since cost more than 5,000 lives, according to a UN estimate.

Dozens of people have died in FSA attacks on the regular army.

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